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Mr David Deane

Telephone +61 8 8313 5254
Position M Philosophy - Sciences
Fax +61 8 8313 4347
Building Mawson Laboratories
Floor/Room G 39
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Ecology and Environmental Science

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Biography/ Background

Following my undergrad degree (BSc, UofA, completed 2001) I (partially) overcame an early fascination with seaweed to find myself in a South Australian government agency working on the environmental water requirements of freshwater biota. This distraction ended up lasting for more than 10 years, over which time I was fortunate to gain experience working on diverse range of ecological questions in an equally diverse range of intermittent to ephemeral wetland and watercourse habitats. My research focus over this time was on quantifying environmental water requirements and I pioneered the development of a number of novel approaches to water allocation planning evaluation such as the use of trait prevalence and flow response groups that are today established methods in water allocation planning.

I was recently able to apply these methods during an interesting 12 month stint as an ecological modeller in Justin Brookes' Freshwater Ecology Lab. During this time I worked on modelling the hydrological niche of wetland plant functional groups in the South East of the state in a project for the Goyder Water Research Institute.

Concurrent with that, I completed an MSc in the Global Ecology lab under Corey Bradshaw, Damien Fordham and Fangliang He (U. Alberta), investigating the maintenance of plant diversity in the swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula, an EPBC listed threatened ecological community in South Australia. My research showed that not only are these wetlands critical reservoirs of native plant diversity in a heavily cleared agricultural landscape, but also that the smallest wetlands support a disproportionately large number of rare species. Protecting the largest wetlands in this landscape does not guarantee the lowest extinction risk.

I am currently based at the University of Alberta, Canada where I am a PhD candidate in Conservation Biology in Fangliang He's lab. 

Research Interests

I am an ecological modeller with diverse interests. Historically, I have mostly worked to predict how human water resource development affects ecosystems. I have worked with a range of freshwater aquatic biota, but the use of vegetation functional groups as a means to predict the outcome of different hydrological scenarios on plant communities is a core theme.

Increasingly, I am now working with terrestrial and marine ecosystems.


Deane, D. C., D. A. Fordham, F. He, and C. J. A. Bradshaw. 2017. Future extinction risk of wetland plants is higher from individual patch loss than total area reduction. Biological Conservation 209:27-33.

Deane, D.C., Fordham, D.A., He, F. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2016) Diversity patterns of seasonal wetland plant communities mainly driven by rare terrestrial species. Biodiversity and Conservation DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1139-1.

Fang, X., G. Shen, Q. Yang, H. Liu, Z. Ma, D. Deane, and X. Wang. In press. Habitat heterogeneity explains mosaics of evergreen and deciduous trees at local-scales in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest. Journal of Vegetation Science.

He, D and Deane, D.C. (2016) The relationship between trunk- and twigwood density shifts with tree size and species stature. Journal of Forest Ecology and Management 372 pp. 137-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.04.015

Schaffelke, B., and Deane, D. (2005) Desiccation tolerance of the introduced marine green alga Codium fragile ssp. Tomentosoides - clues for likely transport vectors. Biological Invasions, 7 (4). pp. 577-587.

Entry last updated: Monday, 20 Feb 2017

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